Your say: water fluoridation and cancer support over Christmas

DIVIDED: Letter writer and dentist, Dr Michael Jonas, wants Gunnedah councillors to vote in favour of water fluoridation.
DIVIDED: Letter writer and dentist, Dr Michael Jonas, wants Gunnedah councillors to vote in favour of water fluoridation.

Cancer does not take a break over Christmas

This year 48 women will find out they have breast cancer every day in Australia. Cancer doesn’t stop over the holiday season and about 1,400 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during the month of December.

Being diagnosed with breast cancer – or any other type of cancer – when people are winding up the year and celebrating can bring about a number of challenges.

Many clinics close for the summer, which means people newly diagnosed in December can be left for weeks waiting for answers about their treatment and prognosis. This can cause distress and leave people feeling very alone.

It’s also a hard time of year to give bad news to children, partners and friends. No one wants to be the person with bad news at a time usually reserved for happiness and celebration. Carrying a feeling of being the one to ‘ruin Christmas’ only adds to the stress the diagnosed person may already be feeling. The lead up to Christmas and post-Christmas is also filled with extra social events, which means you’re around people who you might not be used to dealing with. Telling people you have cancer can often bring about unwanted responses, no matter what time of year it is. But during the festive season you are dealing with more situations, more people and more responses. 

Breast Cancer Network Australia’s online network is open during the holiday season when many health practitioners and support services are closed. The online network is a place where you can connect with women and men who are going through a similar experience and talk openly about what you’re feeling and experiencing.

I would encourage anyone who is finding it hard to deal with breast cancer over the festive season to join our online network at and talk to others who have walked this road.

As a community we must be mindful that not everyone’s holiday season is filled with happiness and celebrations and to continue supporting each other in any way we can.

Christine Nolan,

Breast Cancer Network Australia CEO

Fluoride debate 

I would like to take this opportunity to ask you to help improve the oral health of our town by recommending the introduction of fluoride into the water supply of Gunnedah. 

You have the ability to make a momentous change to the health outcomes of almost every member of the Gunnedah community, in particular: the young, the elderly, the disabled and the disadvantaged. 

My aim here is not to address the efficacy of water fluoridation or the undeniable science behind this proven public health measure. My aim is to have you consider the long- term positive influence you will have on so many lives, now and in the future. 

When I came to Gunnedah in November 1986 to join Dr Tom Boshier in practice, I was the sixth dental practitioner working in Gunnedah. There are now three. This is in part due to the great advances my profession has made in preventive dentistry and the fact that so many of the people moving to Gunnedah grew up in communities with a fluoridated water supply. Can you imagine how beneficial it would be if rates of tooth decay could be reduced even more? 

Running a fear campaign on this subject has long been a successful method of influencing elected decision makers.

Putting doubt into your minds on the advisability of water fluoridation should not sway you from the simple fact that peak health and professional bodies support water fluoridation unequivocally, as reflected in the submissions and correspondence already put to Council. 

Our Shire is one of a handful in the state that does not fluoridate its water. Our community deserves to join 93 per cent of NSW residents and use this naturally-occurring element, fluoride, to better the health of all. 

Dr Michael Jonas,

BDS BSc Dip Ed


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